How to make proper English tea for me

For the benefit of Lisa* who, being American, believes tea can be cold and drinkable (wrong) or made from fruit (perverse, and wrong):

No, more like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/lemon_farmer/154952979/ (with the teabag removed, obviously)Β  πŸ™‚

To do it properly (especially if you work with me):

  1. Empty kettle of all water.
  2. Fill kettle half way with fresh tap water.Β  Not bottled or mineral or anything daft like that.
  3. Put kettle on to boil.
  4. Put small amount of milk in a mug.Β  About 3 mm i.e. 1/16 of your imperial inchesΒ  πŸ˜‰Β  Semi-skimmed or similar – NOT UHT or other yucky fake milk! Put ONE tetley tea bag into the milk and leave there whilst we wait for the kettle http://www.tetley.co.uk/Our-Products/Ranges/Tetley-Tea-Bags
  5. As soon as kettle boils pour the boiling water into the mug from about 6 inches height, over the teabag until the mug is full.
  6. Remove the teabag from the mug, squeezing it out into the mug as you do it once it looks the colour of the photo. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lemon_farmer/154952979/
  7. Drink when temperature has dropped below “ouch that took the skin off my lips”.

Don’t put lemon in it.

Don’t put ice in it – ever.

If it goes cold – throw it away and make another one.

If it’s not brown, like wood, you’ve made it wrong.

Most of us British have our own preference for teabags, tea leaves and method.Β  There are likely to be several comments on this blog from fellow British bloggers with their own withering replies on how a “proper cup of tea” should be made.Β  Many, for example, believe it a cardinal sin to “put the milk in first” which is the subject of much debate and scandal amongst colleagues.Β  My BIL, for example, says that even to wash out his teapot should be punishable by torture followed by a merciless death and that teabags “contain the sweepings from the hull of a ship” (not true, honest).Β  Earl Grey is what you get when you accidentally spray perfume near a decent cup of tea – don’t do it.

Oh, and we don’t call our hot drinks by boy’s names such as Joe, Sam, Benny or Frank and no-one outside of 1930’s East-end London calls tea “a cup of char” any more.

Now, Lisa, go off and make me a cup of tea please love – I’m parched.Β  πŸ˜‰

*Side note: When I first wrote this post Lisa and I had become “blogging buddies”.Β  Now, two years on we’re married.Β  How lovely is that? πŸ˜€

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22 thoughts on “How to make proper English tea for me

  1. My Mummy (read: sadistic psycho nymphomaniac bitch from hell) sat me down and taught me to make tea in a tea pot. Tea bags were vulgar and only common people would even consider using them. I must be dead common then – she always did accuse me of being swapped at birth in the hospital. πŸ™‚

  2. oh no – you’ve gotten it all wrong. Well. Almost…

    1) Fill kettle with water (any source will do – filtered is good if you live in a particularly hard water area)
    2) boil kettle
    3) wait
    4) pour an amount of the boiled water into the cup (or pot if making a pot of tea)
    5) wait
    6) empty out the boiling water – the pot/cup will now be warmed and ready to take the drink.
    7) pour boiled water over (either tea bag or tea leaves – whichever your preference)
    8) leave for a few moments (depending on how strong you want the beverage to be)
    9) if it’s a tea bag, squeeze against the side of the cup/pot then discard
    10) add milk to taste.

    A “cup of char” – more likely to be a cup of Chai – a slightly spiced Indian/Asian drink, based on tea and lots of milk. Quite tasty… as for the fruity things – these – hot or cold – are not teas; these are infusions. Similar principles, but different beasts.

    Tea should be drunk blisteringly hot. Re-heated tea tastes rubbish. If it goes cold, discard and try again.

    Green tea (flavoured) sweets are quite nice though, if you ever get a chance to try them…
    M

  3. See, I told you it’d start an argument. I actually have a dark and dirty confession to make – I like Chai Lattes…there, I’ve said it out loud and I feel so much better for it.

    Milk first, teabag in it, water from six inches – trust me. The main thing about the water is it must not be water that has been boiled before – it purges all the oxygen out of it and this is an essential element of the taste of a cup of tea.

    Not that I’m pedantic…no….

  4. Thanks so much for the lesson. Just to prove that I can, in fact, make proper tea, I shall immediately (or the next time I go to the grocery) purchase some tetley tea bags, some proper milk, and set about to making a proper cup of tea.

    No sugar, then? Really? OK. I’m over it.

    If I try your tea, though, are you willing to try my coffee? πŸ™‚ (oh, just go ahead and say “no”)

  5. Milk first is only necessary if you have cheap china which can’t take the heat and will crack when put in contact with boiling water. πŸ˜›

  6. well. since i am from alot more nooooooooooorth than here i insist on its being builder strength. leaving the bag in a good two minutes does the trick. weak tea is for wimps!!! rah bulider tea!!

  7. If you are using tea-bags it is absoltely imperative that the milk goes in last. Here comes the science… the milk molecules are larger than the perforations in the tea bag and so do not allow for a good perfusion of tea and water as they clog up the holes.

  8. HANG ON HANG ON! Milk molecules are bigger than the holes in a teabag? You’re having a laugh Ms MWM. I can SEE the holes in my teabag – I can’t see the molecules in the milk I am using (I have a headache now from straining really really hard to try and see them, dammit).

    “Here comes the science” – wasn’t that what L’Oreal said when they then proceeded to talk utter utter non-science drivel about Pro-Retinol Kumquantino Acid or something people with haircuts like mine had no understanding of?

    πŸ™‚

  9. True, a close second but of course Stephen has never been stupid enough to get beaten up by teenage hoodies at our local ski slope or had over by computer fraudsters (after inviting them to do it). πŸ™‚

  10. Fixed (sort of) I must drink less, surf less and play with the css a bit more.

    Katyja – you, innocent – I think not. One day you, me and your significant other will meet for drinks…it will be messy, it will be blog-worthy, it will be memorable…. be warned….

    Make tea my way or no way…end of… πŸ™‚

  11. Milk in first also stops the milk being scalded by the hot water, which is why I think it tastes better. I do this regardless of how I make the tea (including tea bags) and I’ve never had any complaints …

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